Meeting and event spend is expected to increase in 2024, according to new research from Accor, which reveals a need to focus on balance and belonging as the sector continues to evolve and recover.
The report, titled “Meeting Expectations: The Future of Meetings & Events” addresses the transformation that the M&E sector has undergone in recent years and explores the fundamental shifts impacting the industry.
Accor’s Meetings & Events Industry Forecast survey data revealed that 78% of respondents said that their or their clients’ expenditure had increased since 2022, with 36% saying it had increased by more than 25%.
Looking to 2024 the growth is expected to continue with 80% of surveyed experts expecting increased spend in 2024, with 30% saying it would rise by more than 25%.
Continued growth is forecast across all meeting and event sizes in 2024. Three-quarters (78%) expect the number of small and medium sized meetings (under 100 delegates) to increase next year, and the same number said they expect the number of meetings of over 100 delegates to increase.
More than half (57%) predict a rise in large meetings (over 300 delegates) to increase and almost three-forth (78%) said it would be “very important” for their industry to attend exhibitions, conferences and tradeshows in 2024.
Reconfirming the value of meeting in real life (IRL), 33% of meetings planners expect in excess of 40% more revenue from face-to-face meetings vs a virtual meeting, and the majority, 80%, would not be happy to use video-conferencing to close deals in 2024.
The report outlined the followings five trends expected to shape the growth of the industry:
1. “Softer Productivity”
The work hard, play hard ethos once associated with business and events is changing in line with the demands of new lifestyles.
Key Take-away: Balance purpose and productivity
2. “Selling Belonging”
The meetings and events sector is all about one thing: people. Human connection and fostering a sense of belonging are the cornerstones of successful event design.
Key Take-away: Celebrate the human connection. Sell belonging.
3. “Designing Experiences”
Event bookers are looking for a return on their investment, but they are more than ever looking for ROX, a return on experience.
Key Take-away: Create memorable experiences that forge meaningful connections
4. “Green Gatherings”
Positive impact is the differentiator, and, more than ever, the sector has the green light to drive change. Green credentials are no longer a bonus for events – they will be a deciding factor in who secures the business.
Key Take-away: Sustainability should be the first thought, not the afterthought
5. “Disruptive Technology”
In-person conferences are now a vital way of bringing together people who may only see one another through laptop screens.
Key Take-away: Digital has reach. Face to face has value. Being in the room matters.